Rev Pro made their debut in St. Neots as they closed out 2019 with some festive fare.
St. Neots is one of the former “Southside towns” that Rev Pro’s acquired from their merger with Southside… and while we’re still waiting for those Sheffield shows, this one’s giving us a line-up that borrowed more than a little from the Southside of old. Andy Q’s in the old habit of ring announcing, he’s also commentating alongside Andy Boy Simmonz.
Gideon Grey vs. Shota Umino
Yikes, they dug up the old Legion of Lords theme… one of the few Rev Pro themes that’s locked away in the Quildan vault.
You’ve got to go back to February for Gideon’s last singles match in Rev Pro, back when they were building up the Great O-Kharn to face MK McKinnan in a match that never quite happened. Much to the delight of JP and his hat. Grey tries to charge Umino at the bell, but just gets caught with a backbreaker, before Shota’s Fisherman buster almost ended this early. Gideon heads outside to recuperate, but there’s little change in luck when he came back in… until he grabbed Shota by the hair. That makes commentary chuckle in memory of Gideon’s old hair style, before Umino fought back with a low dropkick for a two-count.
Rolling suplexes follow from Shota, hitting a pair of them before dropping Gideon on the top rope… but an eye rake stops Umino as he’s pulled down and stomped to the mat. Grey nearly snatches the win with a Falcon arrow as his deliberate offence was making some headway, including a stranglehold that looked to force a submission. Grey lets go to throw Umino into the corner, as he borrowed a page out of O-Kharn’s book, before some running knees and a German suplex out of the corner seemed to fire up Umino. Shota looked for a German suplex of his own, but got caught with another German, then with a palm strike as Grey was keeping Shooter down.
Shota fires up, demanding more kicks… and caught one before he spun Gideon with a release German suplex! Right hands from Umino and a back suplex get a near-fall, before a ripcord enziguiri dropped Grey by the ropes. It’s nearly enough to get the win, but Shota pushes on and goes for a Death Rider, prompting Gideon to fight free… only for Shota to come back with a dropkick, an inverted suplex and then the Death Rider for the win. A really good match to get us going here – Gideon’s really under-rated in the ring, and worked well against Umino, whose excursion is slowly beginning to simmer. ***
Andy Q’s interrupted before the next match by Rob Lynch, who’s in Rev Pro for the first time in over two years, when the London Riots were a thing. He was one of the final Southside champions, and he’s having to deal with a wonky mic as he issues an open challenge. Never change, Rev Pro.
Rob Lynch vs. Cody Hall
Needless to say, it’s a Rev Pro debut for Cody Hall, who’s on an extended tour of Europe, having had stints in New Japan and DDT.
Lynch jumps Hall from behind, but Cody shrugs it off and comes in with a diving uppercut. Lynch tries to catch Cody off the top rope, but he’s just thrown down as Cody comes in with a shoulder tackle… then too sweeted the crowd? Ah man, that Bullet Club run was aeons ago. A uranage nearly ends it quick for Hall, and sends Lynch outside for cover… but Cody follows him out for some chops by the ring apron, but Lynch hit back when he caught Hall getting back into the ring. Some choking in the ropes has Cody on the back foot, but Hall’s back with chops that Lynch threw back at him.
Lynch looks for a springboard moonsault, but Hall moves away before he got caught with a front kick. Running clotheslines from Lynch earned him one back. Hall does the Undertaker sit-up as they trade forearms, then clotheslines, with Lynch edging ahead… as another clothesline took Cody to the outside for a tope. Hall blocked the dive though, then chokeslammed Lynch awkwardly onto the edge of the ring, before a springboard splash looked to finish off Lynch… and then we get a teased ref bump… but Cody stops himself, and gets caught with a roll-up as Lynch stole the win. Well, they tried, but this throwback to Southside’s style of match can best be described with the euphemism they used in commentary: “didn’t quite get all of it”. *¾
Gisele Shaw vs. Zan Phoenix
This was advertised as Shaw vs. Lizzy Evo, but Zan Phoenix was the replacement, with a new look. Almost lederhosen-esque…
For some reason we don’t seem to be getting the ring bell, so we start with Phoenix rushing in… only for Shaw to brush it off and trap Zan with a side headlock. Gisele keeps going back to it as she took down Phoenix, before another stand-off led to Zan rushing in with some knees, before some ‘ranas from Shaw caught out Phoenix. Gisele goes rope walking, and flies in with a seated-senton for a near-fall, before she came a little closer with a clothesline. Phoenix rolls outside for cover, and swats away a dive attempt as she looked to take over with some more knee lifts before she took Shaw into the ropes for a Tarantula.
Using a knucklelock, Phoenix threw Shaw to the mat for a Dragon sleeper, only for Shaw to bridge up to force Zan to break the hold. Zan keeps up with submissions, going for a grounded abdominal stretch, before Shaw got free and nearly snatched the win with a roll-up. Another Phoenix knee stops Gisele in her tracks though, before a blocked Trish Stratus-like ‘rana out of the corner was turned into a top rope ‘rana by Shaw, and that’s where the comeback picks up steam.
A Curt Hennig-esque neck flip plants Phoenix for a near-fall, as do some more kicks, before Shaw rolled her over and levered back with a Fujiwara armbar. It ends in the ropes as Phoenix tried to win with suplexes, before a Finlay roll and a Vader bomb got Zan another two-count. From there, Shaw shuts her down with a knee strike, a DDT and a levering armbar… and that’s enough to force the submission. This was fine, but I feel Shaw perhaps should have dominated more given she’s getting a title shot in two weeks… **½
Carlos Romo vs. Robbie X
The St. Neots fans clearly remember Robbie from Southside, as he’s gotten one of the bigger pops of the night so far.
Romo starts off well, taking down Robbie as commentary reminisced about 1PW… Romo tried a quick bow-and-arrow hold, but Robbie rolls free before running into a leg lariat for a near-fall. All of a sudden, Robbie turns up the pace with some floatovers and a low dropkick before a standing moonsault got the veteran a one-count. Romo throws some shots to take Robbie outside, before the Spaniard adjusted a dive and caught Robbie with a tope through the corner. Back inside, Romo hits a moonsault for a near-fall, before an attempt at Cutter without the E was stopped with a big knee strike and a handspring kick in the ropes.
Robbie keeps up with an apron PK, then a running shooting star press back inside for a near-fall. Romo cuts off Robbie on the top rope as he looked to fight back in, but he’s caught with a superkick before a Busaiku knee almost got Romo a rare win. A cutter spikes Robbie for a near-fall, as Romo kept piling on the pressure, following in with a Spiral Tap… but it’s not enough as Robbie counters out of Cutter Without the E and hits an X-Clamation for the win. Some good back and forth here, but Romo’s ending the year with yet another loss, hoping for a big turnaround in 2020… ***
Romo refuses a handshake after the match…
JJ Gale & Shaun Jackson vs. The Legion (Rampage Brown & Great O-Kharn)
The Legion have new music for this non-title outing, which saw the Kenneth Halfpenny replaced by JJ Gale. Gideon Grey’s not out doing their intro, which just felt weird…
Gale started off on the back foot against O-Kharn, who loved his headlocks early on, but Gale gets free and slingshotted into the ring before catching O-Kharn with a dropkick. Shaun Jackson tags in, but so did Rampage Brown, who peppered Jackson with shoulder tackles before he got caught with the double leapfrog dropkick. “The best worst dropkick in wrestling today” is a bit of a backhanded compliment, eh?
Rampage quickly retaliates with a clothesline, then brought O-Kharn back in to put the boots to Jackson, before Rampage chops and suplexed Shaun for a quick two-count. Jackson manages to get free though as Gale came in to try and force a way through with his pace, and manages to land a wheelbarrow bulldog on Rampage for a one-count. O-Kharn kicks Gale in the ropes as the champions took over, with O-Kharn throwing Mongolian chops for a near-fall. A nonchalant spinebuster from Rampage keeps it going, as O-Kharn added some chops in the corner. Snake Eyes onto the ropes gets O-Kharn another near-fall, before Gale fought back with a missile dropkick. That bought him enough time to tag out, only for Jackson to go a little too soon for a slam on O-Kharn.
A knee strike and a double-jump Blockbuster has more effect, but Jackson follows up with a swinging side slam for a near-fall. O-Kharn strikes back though, sweeping the leg as he puts the boots to Jackson, then went for an eye rake as Jackson retaliates with a clothesline. Tags bring in Rampage and Gale again, with JJ landing a nice roundhouse enziguiri on the way to a near-fall, only to get caught with a uranage as Rampage looked to finish things. O-Kharn gets a blind tag in, but the Contenders looked to double-team their way to victory, with Gale hitting a senton bomb off the top for a near-fall… Jackson’s roughly tossed outside by Rampage, and it left Gale vulnerable as his springboard was caught and turned into an Iron Claw slam, before the Deep Wounds – a fireman’s carry cutter – led to the win. This was a pretty decent showing from the Contenders, but such is their status, that was about all we could expect here. ***
RevPro Undisputed British Women’s Championship: Maddison Miles vs. Zoe Lucas (c)
Andy’s got to fight with the mic again as we see the winner of November’s Queen of the Ring tournament getting her title shot. Problem is, that tournament hasn’t hit VOD yet…
The winner of this got a new Rev Pro women’s title belt, which was the last of the Rev Pro straps to get a makeover. Zoe charges Miles at the bell, as the champion looked to make quick work of Miles… but Maddison’s quickly back with a headlock takedown and a lucha roll for a near-fall. Lucas hangs up Miles on the top rope to get back in, before boot chokes and right hands kept the Canadian at bay.
A reversed Irish whip turns it around for Miles, as Andy Simmonz on commentary fixated on Canadians in wrestling. Zoe’s running leg lariat and a dropkick keeps Maddison down, before a running facebuster drew a near-fall. The crowd’s just about on board with getting behind Miles, but they weirdly fall silent when she hits a sidewalk slam for a near-fall, before a scissor kick from Lucas almost got the win… and we don’t have to wait too much longer as Zoe slips out of a tombstone attempt and hits a Final Cut for the win. Way too short for my liking, but I guess when they’ve already built a new top contender, a title change here was never on the cards. **½
Post-match, Gisele Shaw’s out for the obligatory staredown…with Zoe slapping Shaw before she powdered.
Southside Speed King Championship: Mark Haskins vs. Ricky Knight Jr. (c)
Not sure what Haskins did to get the shot, given he’s far from a Rev Pro regular, but we’ll give it a pass. Knight’s got a somewhat vocal fan base in St. Neots, but he was on the defensive early on, as Haskins tried to force the issues.
Haskins seemed to go for a Sharpshooter early, but it’s blocked as Haskins has to go for a side headlock… and weirdly one of those ringside cameras completely crapped the bed when it came to white balance. How does this sort of stuff keep happening? From the camera that wasn’t in the dark, we see a waistlock takedown from Knight, who looked to work over the challenger’s wrist… seemingly irking Haskins in the process. Things broke down into a fist fight, with Knight taking Haskins into the ropes with his shots before turning up the speed on the way to a leapfrog/dropkick that found its mark.
Haskins powders outside for a breather, then returned with some venom… only to get pushed outside as Knight went for a pescado into the dark, missing it as Haskins instead landed a PK off the apron. Haskins breaks the count so he could continue to brawl around ringside, knocking Knight into a chair before dropkicking him out of it. Returning to the ring, the camera guy finally figures out the white balance so we get to see Haskins use a grounded chinlock on Knight, switching it up to figure four headscissors on the mat, only for Knight to power back to his feet… and get taken down with a neckbreaker. Knees to the gut soften up Knight as Haskins looked to be preparing for Made in Japan, but Knight chops back before catching a crossbody, which he turned into a death valley driver into the corner.
A brutal running dropkick cracks Haskins in the corner, then another, eventually sending Haskins back to the outside, where Knight followed up off the middle rope with an Orihara moonsault. Another death valley driver back inside gets a near-fall for Knight, as does a springboard moonsault as Haskins was almost out of it, needing help from Vicki Haskins as she pulls him out of the ring. Vicki teases whacking Knight with the baseball bat… which gets her ejected, and distracts Knight as Haskins found a second wind, landing a death valley driver of his own for a near-fall, before a stomp off the top kept the pressure up. Haskins keeps going with a Samoan driver as the two counts kept coming, interspersed with a right hand from Haskins… which just started another scrap.
Duelling big boots leave both men down, before they got up as Haskins lands Made in Japan for a near-fall, but a second attempt’s countered into a roll-up before a head kick and a sit-out tombstone spiked Haskins as Knight retained his title. A pretty good main event, with Knight taking a beating on the way to the win – Knight’s impressing in front of a new audience after the merger, that’s for sure. ***½
The worry I had when Rev Pro announced it was taking over Southside and their venues was that the shows that the two promotions put on had very little overlap. Seasons Beatings, despite their nod to Southside of the past, felt very dry on VOD, with the crowd taking their time to get familiar with the new faces. Whether that improves through time remains to be seen, but it’s an overriding issue that a lot of pundits have said needs to be sorted in 2020 for Rev Pro: what’s their identity and raison d’etre away from York Hall?